- Author: Ken Williams
This past week I was required to get out and do some pruning on the backside of my house, new gutters were coming! It has been a long time since I pruned my “Jade Plant” and it was in the way and would have been severely damaged if not pruned prior to the work crew showing up for the gutter work. I pruned and cleaned up my “Jade Plant” and then thought how about a blog on the “Jade Plant” with some pictures.
A good place to start would be with a little botanical knowledge about the “Jade Plant”. The binomial botanical name (genus and species) for my “Jade Plant” is Crassula ovata (older species name was argentea and also sometimes sold under the species name of portulacea. It belongs to the Crassulaceae Family; common name for this family is Stonecrop or Orpine. Crassula is a succulent perennial in the Order of Saxifragales. The family is considered to be 100 to 60 million years old and came from the region of Eastern Africa. “Jade Plant” has a multitude of common names such as: jade tree, baby jade, dollar plant, cauliflower ears, Chinese rubber plant, dwarf rubber plant, and Japanese rubber plant. With all these common names it's quite clear why we prefer to use the botanical name, insuring we get the right plant.
Plants in the Family Crassulaceae perform a different type of photosynthesis as compared to our other flowering plants, it is called “CAM”, Crassulacean Acid Metabolism. The stomata (little pores on the leaves) in the leaves remain shut during the day to reduce evapotranspiration (water loss), but open at night to collect carbon dioxide. This is basically opposite of what other plants do during the day.
Plant details: shrub to 10 feet tall with Glabrous leaves (meaning, hairless and smooth), leaves are obovate in shape (meaning, reverse egg shape: widest point of leaf is near the tip), 1 to 2 inches in length, green often with red margins (leaf edges), nearly petioled (meaning, very short petiole). Flowers are white or pink, and flowers freely outdoors in the right climate zone.
Sunset Western Garden Book shows 10 different species of Crassula. The species ovata grows best in Zones 8, 9, 12-24 and H1, H2. Best in full sun or bright light depending on zone and needs little to no water. “Top notch houseplant, large container plant, and landscaping shrub in mildest climates”.
My “Jade Plant” is growing in the planting bed on the West side of my home and protected from the hot afternoon sun by my giant Acer saccharinum, (Silver Maple). The plant originally came to me in a large wooden pot (three feet wide and 1 foot tall) as a gift, being too lazy to take it out of the pot and noting the pot was starting to rot anyway I just planted the whole thing. It loves the area and has grown into a very large plant and has been pruned many times over the years.
Want a cutting? Crassula's cuttings survive very well with little to no attention. A cutting needs to set for a few days to callus over and then they are ready to plant into a well drained soil, its just that simple. Cuttings available upon request.